Advancing Global Cancer Research @ AACR 2015
, by Paul Pearlman
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The NCI Center for Global Health hosted its first session at the 2015 annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) last week in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The AACR is the world’s oldest and largest professional association related to cancer research, and its annual meeting is a veritable who’s who of cancer experts, industry leaders, and policy professionals. This year’s annual meeting included approximately 750 sessions and attracted 20,000 participants, fully overwhelming the Pennsylvania Convention Center in the ‘City of Brotherly Love’.
The CGH session was titled 'Research Priorities for NCI’s Center for Global Health' and included presentations on our mission, objectives, currently funded programs, and future programs given by Dr. Lisa Stevens and myself, as well as three special presentations by NCI grantees. “I’m so pleased for the opportunities we have through CGH to develop and facilitate programs specifically aimed at supporting science that will have a lasting impact on cancer research and improving global health across all regions of the world”, Dr. Lisa Stevens, Deputy Director for Planning and Operations, Center for Global Health, NCI.
Dr. Kathleen Schmeler, from MD Anderson Cancer Center and a recipient of supplemental funds CGH offered to the NCI Designated Cancer Centers, talked about her current research on testing a novel High-resolution Micro-endoscope as a low-cost alternative for colposcopy. The research conducted by Schmeler and her team opens up opportunities for screening, diagnostics, and treatment at the point of care. Also a recipient of a grant from the trans-NCI low-cost technology program for global health, coordinated by CGH, Dr. Schmeler expounded upon the initial steps in this next phase of research.
Dr. Ricky Lu, from Jhpiego, presented on his current work with the dry ice-based cryo-pop, supported through a grant issued as part of the low-cost technology program. The cryo-pop is a device used for cryotherapy to treat cervical cancer by freezing the transformational zone of the cervix after cervical neoplasia is detected. He shared his experiences on modifying the device to run on food grade CO2, thus making it a more appropriate technology for use in low-resource settings because of the ubiquitous presence of the carbonated beverage industry around the world.
Finally, Dr. Wael El-Rifai, from Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center discussed his experiences in the US-China Biomedical Cooperative Research Program. Dr. El-Rifai and his collaborators at Nanjing University of Science and Technology utilized the grant they were awarded to share and analyze samples and results to better understand genetic and epigenetic alterations in upper gastrointestinal carcinomas. Because of the high burden of gastric cancers in China and much of East Asia, this research has important consequences for global health.
While this was a short session, CGH’s first salvo into the AACR Annual Meeting was a roaring success and we looking forward to doing it again next year in New Orleans!
AACR members can watch recorded webcasts of the session here: http://webcast.aacr.org/portal and by searching for “global health.”